Dragon boat festival continuing to grow

Penticton’s Raymond James Dragon Boat Festival is spreading its paddles.

PENTICTON’S RAYMOND JAMES DRAGON BOAT festival will have a record 2

PENTICTON’S RAYMOND JAMES DRAGON BOAT festival will have a record 2

Penticton’s Raymond James Dragon Boat Festival is spreading its paddles.

The weekend event continues to grow since its inauguration in 2000. Last year, the event attracted 87 teams and organizer Don Mulhall said he had people suggesting they bump the number to 100.

“I have never said the word 100 and Penticton in the same sentence,” joked Mulhall at the time. “At some point we have to stop. I can’t have boats racing from here to Kaleden.”

While heading to Kaleden won’t be the case, 90-plus teams will be racing the 500-metre sprints at Skaha Lake Sept. 8 to 9.

Among those teams will be the Peach City Dragons. Ron Spence, a paddler on the team, said they are aiming to finish in the top three. Spence knows it won’t be easy as they are likely to be in a strong field.

“We have confidence that we can do well,” said Spence, adding that they have won a few events this season, including one in Vernon recently.

Pushing the Peach City Dragons is coach Jen Monai, who Spence said is great.

“She’s so much fun and she’s a hard ass,” said Spence. “She makes us work.”

As for the growth the festival is seeing, Spence said “it’s awesome.”

One of the new teams is the HSBC Flying Dragons, the first in Canada for developmentally disabled adults. They will be participating in their first official race after three months of training. The 21 paddlers and 20 volunteer coaches are ready to rip through the water.

“These talented and enthusiastic paddlers have been working incredibly hard and are-over-the moon excited about this coming weekend. Regardless of their race times, the HSBC Flying Dragons have already finished way ahead of the pack, ” said Flying Dragons coach Mulhall. “I am so proud of them and honoured to be coaching these amazing athletes.”

Spence added there will be several visitors in town this weekend, especially with the city also having the Jazz Festival.

“Teams like to come. People I talk to like the Penticton event,” said Spence. “It’s well organized.”

It’s expected that a record 2,700 paddlers will compete. That makes it the second largest dragon boat festival in B.C.

“This festival has exceeded our expectations, growing from just 12 teams in 2000 to more than 90 this year,” said Mulhall in a release. “It has become one of the most anticipated dragon boat events of the year.”

The festival will see teams of 20 paddlers (plus a drummer and steer-person) from B.C. and Alberta racing the 14-m canoes. Penticton’s female paddlers are expected to be among the top competitors and anticipated to be in Sunday afternoon’s final.

Along with the finals at noon, races on Sunday include the Breast Cancer Survivor finals and carnation ceremony, starting before 11 a.m. Local favourite Survivorship will be looking to win the Dale Charles Memorial cup.

Find full story at www.pentictonwesternnews.com.

The medals and awards, including trophies for top women’s crew, top breast cancer survivor crew, top okanagan crew and top crew overall will be presented in the beverage garden Sunday afternoon.

“We invite the community to come and take part in the festivities and experience the true spirit of dragon boating,” said Mulhall.

The event will also feature a beverage garden, with proceeds to Survivorship, food vendors and a market. The festival will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, go to www.pentictondragonboat.com or gorowandpaddle.org.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alan can be seen picking organic ambrosia apples on his Keremeos orchard, Old Tower Farm. The provincial government has partnered with the farm owners to lease a portion of their orchard to a new farmer. (Old Tower Farm photo)
Budding farmer gets his start on Keremeos orchard

Kanver Brares, 21, will grow the fruits of his labour on leased land at Old Tower Farms

Corsac the cat is up for adoption at Critteraid.
Critteraid hosts three adoption Sundays

More than 40 cats looking for their forever homes

Abigail McCluskey is in the Netherlands training to compete in the World Cup next month. She joins 12 Canadian speedskaters for the international competition later this month. (Dave Holland CSI Calgary)
Penticton speed skater in Netherlands for World Cup

Abigail McCluskey will be skating the long track in the international competition

Summerland Middle School
COVID exposure at Summerland Middle School

The person who tested positive was at school Jan. 11

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement facility. (Good Samaritan Society photo)
Resident of Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement home tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak at the facility

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Most Read